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RETTON Mary Lou
RETTON Mary Lou

Mary Lou RETTON

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  • S 2
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American gymnastics idol

Gymnast Mary-Lou Retton scooped five medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, more than any other athlete. Her success on home soil transformed her into a true American sporting icon.

Inspired by Comaneci

The historic achievements of Romanian prodigy Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal did not go unnoticed in Fairmont, West Virginia (USA), home town of Mary-Lou Retton. Born on 24 January 1968, Retton was inspired by her East European idol, and set her mind on becoming a gymnastics champion. Later, she moved to Houston to train with Bela and Marta Karolyi, Comaneci’s former coaches, and under their strict guidance, the talented youngster rose to national and then international prominence in the early 1980s.

Drama and glory in LA

After dominating the US Olympic artistic gymnastics trials, Retton damaged her knee while rehearsing a floor routine and had to undergo an urgent operation. Just five weeks remained before the start of Los Angeles 1984, but somehow she managed to recover in time.  In front of an enthralled crowd in the University of California’s Pauley Pavilion, Retton locked horns with Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo in the individual all-round competition. Recording perfect 10s on the floor and vault, she pipped her rival to the title by 0.05 points, becoming the first American in history to win an Olympic individual all-round gold. Not satisfied with this historic triumph, she went on to secure silver in the vault, bronze in the uneven bars and the floor, and another silver in the team event. Having won more medals than any other participant at the 1984 Games, she was named Sportswoman of the Year and Amateur Athlete of the Year by the American press.

Iconic status

Retton enjoyed a victorious swansong, being crowned US champion in 1985. After she retired, a park and a street in her home town were named after her. She went on to work in television, advertised a well-known brand of breakfast cereal, and in 1997 was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Prior to that, almost a decade after her Olympic success, a survey carried out by the Associated Press confirmed Retton as the joint most popular sporting figure in the USA, alongside figure skater Dorothy Hamill, who won a gold medal at the 1976 Games.

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Gallery

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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/1984/07/28/LA/077_1984_SZABO_E_Master_IOC_HD_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Mary Lou Retton breaks American jinx to lift all-around gold

Seldom has an Olympic competitor been roared on by a home crowd quite like Mary Lou Retton in Los Angeles. Every move, pirouette and spin was egged on by the vociferous home support, and she was to need every decibel to help her eclipse the supreme Romanian Ecaterina Szabo.

IOC
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Olympic Torch Relay X Retton-Kelley

10 Dec 2001: Torchbearer Mary Lou Retton-Kelley passes the Olympic Flame from her torch to a cauldron during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay in Houston, Texas. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Todd Warshaw//Pool/Allsport
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RETTON USA BALANCE BEAM

5 AUG 1988: MARY LOU RETTON OF THE UNITED STATES PERFORMS A FLIP ON THE BALANCE BEAM DURING HER ROUTINE AT THE 1984 LOS ANGELES OLYMPICS. RETTON WON THE OVERALL GYMNASTICS GOLD MEDAL.
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RETTON USA GYMNASTICS FLOOR

5 AUG 1984: MARY LOU RETTON OF THE UNITED STATES PERFORMS HER ROUTINE DURING THE FLOOR EXERCISES EVENT AT THE 1984 LOS ANGELES OLYMPICS. RETTON FINISHED IN THIRD PLACE WITH A SCORE OF 19.775 POINTS.
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MARY LOU RETTON GOLD ALL-AROUND GYMNASTICS

3 AUGUST 1984: MARY LOU RETTON OF USA COMPETES ON THE BALANCE BEAM ON HER WAY TO THE GOLD MEDAL IN THE INDIVIDUAL ALL-AROUND GYMNASTICS AT THE 1984 LOS ANGELES OLYMPICS. SHE WINS WITH A TOTAL SCORE OF 79.175 POINTS.
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TEAM GYMNASTICS RETTON USA

1 AUG 1984: MARY LOU RETTON OF THE UNITED STATES IS CONGRATULATED BY TEAM MATES AFTER SCORING A PERFECT 10.0 DURING THE VAULT SECTION OF THE TEAM COMBINED GYMNASTICS COMPETITION. THE USA WON THE SILVER MEDAL BEHIND ROMANIA.
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Results

  • Games
    Result
    Sport
    Event
  • B 19.800
    Gymnastics Artistic
    uneven bars women
    S 391.20
    Gymnastics Artistic
    team competition women
    G 79.175
    Gymnastics Artistic
    individual all-round women
    B 19.775
    Gymnastics Artistic
    floor exercises women
    S 19.850
    Gymnastics Artistic
    vault women

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